Archive for July 2011

Showcase Grays Harbor Rides The Rail

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Passengers will ride the rails in Hoquiam for the first time in 56 years as part of the 12th annual Showcase Grays Harbor. The Port Authority has been prepping the passenger trains for the journey, Candie Gleason with the Grays Harbor Economic Development Council said riders will follow the freight route through the Port of Grays Harbor, all the way to Oakville Friday, September 16th. If you’re interested in riding, contact the EDC at 532-7888 for details and reservations.

Mayor Jack Durney will be making the opening comments at the Hoquiam Fire station, the Annual tour is a partnership between multiple entities within Grays Harbor including the Port Authority, The Public Development Authority, Grays Harbor Chamber, and the EDC to name a few.

Westport to Host Emergency Management Test

WESTPORT, Wash. – Amateur radio operators from across Western Washington will help the Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD) to field test its emergency communications system July 30 in Westport.
The test, which the public is invited to observe, will take place from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot at the Westport Maritime Museum, 2201 Westhaven Dr., in Westport in Grays Harbor County.
Between 15 and 20 amateur radio operators will join with EMD staff to conduct the test of the state’s emergency communications trailer. Using the trailer’s communications equipment, radio operators will attempt to contact the state’s Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray and the emergency operations centers in all of the state’s 39 counties.
“Amateur radio is an important backup system for emergency operations in the event that phone and computer systems break down,” said Bob Purdom, EMD staff coordinator for the test. “Our annual field test will help us ensure that our amateur radio system can work when it is needed.”

Attorney General Rob McKenna to Honor Bank Employees

BELLEVUE, Wash. – State Attorney General Rob McKenna will honor Bank of America employees that stopped two women from draining an elderly man’s account in 2008. It was December of 2008 when the Bellevue branch employees contacted authorities after a clearly confused senior and a woman claiming to be his new “wife” were asking to cash out the man’s funds. Investigators learned the 78-year-old’s escort was a massage therapist at his assisted living facility. McKenna will recognize the employees on Thursday at the Bellevue branch, and unveil new training materials to help employees better protect vulnerable customers.

Giving Away Washington’s Great Outdoors?

If it passes, as little as 12 percent of Forest Service and BLM lands would be off-limits to developers. It would also prohibit the BLM from identifying any new areas as potential wilderness.

The plan doesn’t sit well with sportsmen, according to Mike Beagle, co-founder of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. He says an expanse of wild country ensures the health of wildlife populations.

“Having that big ground, that’s really important for bighorn sheep, mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk. We need those special places intact, whether it’s calving for elk, fawning for mule deer, antler growth, horn growth.”

Some are reminding Congress that extractive industries aren’t the only ones interested in using public lands – that recreation is a $730 billion annual business and deserves as much consideration as mining and petroleum.

The bills before Congress are HR 1581 and S 1087.

Thieves Hit BPA Sub Station in Tacoma

Through its Crime Witness Program, BPA offers up to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of individuals committing crimes against BPA facilities and infrastructure. Anyone having information is asked to call BPA’s confidential and toll-free Crime Witness Hotline at 800-437-2744 or local law enforcement.  Tips can also be provided to the Pierce County Sheriff’s office at 253-798-3278. 

In 2010, BPA made two $300 awards to individuals who provided tips on thefts BPA experienced in southwest Washington.  Since 2006, BPA has paid 12 rewards totaling almost $14,000.

“We’re hoping that this information will help jog the memory of someone who may know about the break in and theft or may have seen something suspicious at the substation,” said West.  “Sometimes even small details can help law enforcement officials make significant investigative progress.” 

For more details about BPA’s Crime Witness Program, go to: http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/contact/crimewitness/index.cfm

Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – Blackberry Edition

    The LWB grows along the ground, hoping to go unnoticed.  It grows over stumps, and it loves twining itself over brush piles in logged areas.  The reason it loves the brush piles?  It knows that you will espy the berries, come slashing your way through dangerous undergrowth, clamber up on the brush pile with a trembling outstretched hand- and that’s when you’ll hear the cracking of dry wood.  Next thing you know you’ve sunk four feet into the brush pile and have been raked by every pointy part of a tree limb on your mad descent.  Which is why the seasoned Little Wild Blackberry picker never, ever wears shorts or short sleeved shirts when suiting up for the berry expedition.  Consider your wardrobe with great care, the future of your skin depends upon it.  Heavy jeans, a cotton turtleneck, and sturdy leather boots are required.  I recommend that you use duct tape on the jeans around your ankles and add a canvas vest to the ensemble.  
    Your hands are at high risk, so sacrifice a pair of work gloves by cutting the fingers off halfway.  Your fingers need to be nimble in order to ease the small berries from the vine.  Even a pair of food handler gloves will save some pain.  I must confess that I have occasionally come upon a LWB patch without the proper clothing.  When the hot water from my evening shower hit the wounds, my cries of anguish could be heard several blocks away.   I bear the scars proudly, knowing that other intrepid berry pickers will know in a glance that I could not turn away from a bountiful pick.  Everyone else assumed that a terrible accident was to blame.
    Now the equipment needed to pick.  The girly side of me yearns to take a cute woven wicker basket for picking, but this is an unrealistic fantasy.  Using any container with a large open top is a disaster waiting to happen.  Remember that painful fall into the brush pile?  Every berry in your adorable basket would be lost to you.  That way lies madness.  Many a tear has been wept over spilt LWB’s.  No, what you need is something cheap and sturdy.  Being a conscientious recycler, you’ll have to start saving your gallon plastic milk jugs.  Not to worry, they can be added to the recycling bin when the season is past.  For now, you can make good use of them.  Next, locate your box cutter.  Near the top of the jug, cut out a slot just large enough for your dainty hands to insert the precious berries.  You now have a guilt free container with a reliable handle.  Oh, keep the lid screwed in place- the fewer routes for escaping berries, the happier you’ll be.  
    Now that we all have cell phones , be sure to bring it along.  A few years ago I was trapped for what felt like hours in deep jungle-like brush.  The elderberry and salmonberry bushes were several feet over my head and I was crawling over ankle breaking logs trying to escape.  No cell phone, my only comforting thought was that someone would eventually spot my car on the logging road.  My other mistake that awful day- I hadn’t told my husband where I was going to pick!  Yes, I hang my head in shame, but I learned a valuable lesson.  I also learned that I hadn’t packed enough toilet paper in my fanny pack.  Luckily for me, thimbleberry leaves were very close at hand.

DUI Mandatory Impound Law Goes Into Effect at Midnight

Many jurisdictions lack jail space in which to book those arrested for drunk driving. After processing, arrested persons are typically released to a responsible adult or allowed to take a taxi home.

But the courts wouldn’t allow officers to impound vehicles without considering alternatives to impound or having the driver’s permission.

“It was the classic case of being between a rock and a hard place,” Batiste said. “We had someone whose judgment we knew was impaired, but we couldn’t lock them up and we couldn’t secure their vehicle.”

The result was predictable. In 2007 an impaired driver returned to her vehicle, drove before sobering up, and caused a collision. The person she hit was seriously injured, and won a nearly $5 million judgment against Whatcom County and the State Patrol.

Now, vehicles driven by those arrested for DUI will be towed and held for 12 hours. There are three exceptions that would allow someone to reclaim the car before the 12 hours are up:
• If the vehicle is owned by someone other than the arrested person, such as a business owner, the owner may reclaim the car at the tow lot.
• A registered co-owner may go to the tow company and redeem the vehicle.
• Commercial or farm transport vehicles reclaimed by a legal owner who is not the arrested subject. Commercial and farm transport vehicles are the only types that can be released at the site of the arrest.

Police arrest nearly 40,000 impaired drivers every year. Although Washington’s highway fatality rate is falling, the number killed by impaired drivers is not falling as rapidly.

The Washington State Patrol is a committed partner in Target Zero, the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan with the goal of zero annual traffic fatalities by 2030.

No Mutiny, Sunken Ship May Soon Help Teach Ship Building and Repair in Westport

ABERDEEN, Wash. – A half-sunken sail boat near the moorings for the Lady Washington could one day help students in Ocosta learn to build and repair ships of all kinds. Mark Mercell, owner of the boat tells us a Rusty Skupper Pirate might be the one to make it happen. Peter Newday, better known as Irish Blackie around Pirate Daze in Westport, plans to take the sail boat and use it to start a boat-building class in Westport in cooperation with the Ocosta School District. Mercell said the boat should be out of the Wishkah within a week, and may be the start of a new opportunity in Westport within a year.

Aberdeen Fireworks Disposal by Bomb Squad

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Illegal fireworks removed from a South Aberdeen home yesterday are being stored at the police department until the State Patrol’s Bomb Squad can dispose of them properly, yeah; it was that many fireworks.
The Aberdeen Fire Department assisted in the removal, of two truckloads of the fireworks that officials tell us were all stored in one room of the home. Captain John Green said no charges have been filed, and the investigation continues. The tenants told the property manager that the arsenal was leftover from a fireworks stand on the Puyallup reservation.

Sunken Ship Uprighted, Still Sunken

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Drivers over the Wishkah River Bridge may think that two masts have been erected on the river near Breakwater Seafoods, The Department of Natural Resources tell us those masts belong to a sail boat that quietly sank on private property there nearly three months ago. The state’s Derelict Vessel Removal Department says the owner of the ship has been trying to raise it, no hazardous materials are on board, and since the masts have been turned inland it is no longer a threat to navigation. A salvage company has been contracted to assist with the removal of the ship.